Red is for Love: The Red Faction Preview
by Mitchell Dyer
So I really, really like Red Faction Guerrilla. It’s a serious contender, and I recently sat down with my good buddy and regular DownWriteFierce artistic contributor, Derrek Lucas, to chat about a small sample we were able to check out.
Mitch: The segment of Red Faction Guerilla we got to try out was brief, but pretty outstanding. The “Dust” mission is short, but after zipping through it multiple times I found that it played out different each go-’round. At first, I kind of struggled with the game because I wasn’t yet used to the controls. That, and I couldn’t resist the balls-to-the-wall action that ensued when I headhunted the evil jerks infecting my little colony.
When the enemy has a gun, and I have a sledgehammer, there’s no contest. I win. The second you throw in another guy, especially one on an inaccessible plane, you’re dead before you can so much as switch to your rifle. But you soon learn to adapt and strategize, and it becomes a great game with a bit of a challenge. Your hero might be a (generic, bald) badass, but he isn’t invincible. The dude can lay down an ass-whoopin’, but bullets will knock him down in a heartbeat.
Derrek: I realized pretty quickly that it was impossible for me to play this demo as if it was the full version of the game. I needed to test out all of the gameplay, which I picked up very easily.
But when the game first started, and it faded from my mission briefing to the game itself, and I stood proudly on a hill, my sledgehammer in hand…and an innocent colonist in front of me…
Needless to say my popularity among the pedestrians began to plummet as their number drastically fell. I was almost grateful when a barrage of machine gun fire ended my rampage and I restarted the mission, ready to give my objectives a go around; but it started me out in front of those pedestrians again.
The first time I was able to actually play through the mission at hand, it was completely by accident that I met the goals set upon me. Granted in my own little world I was pleased that I met all the requirements that the Red Faction organization had made for me, and I was also pleased with myself that I wreaked the amount of carnage I did, on both the EDF, and the mining colonists. I’d left my mark on the demo, but I know that if I am to beat the actual game with the same expectations for myself, that the results on the entire game could be changed drastically.
When I play the full game start to finish I’m going to have to protect these people, Meaning I would have to put harder regulations on my hammer use. That will not be easy
Mitch: The fun of Red Faction, much like its predecessors, is the insane amount of environmental destruction. When someone on an elevated structure is peppering me with bullets, I don’t have to shoot back at him in order to progress. Guerilla is obviously a sandbox-y game, and it really shows in the combat. You can approach any situation in varied ways. Sure, you can return fire. But it’s more fun to hammer the concrete support out from under your attacker. Better yet, chucking a handful of remote mines on the foundation of a building is prime for toppling the stone structures your enemies are holed up in. Blowing out walls with melee weapons and explosives is rad, not only for getting your killin’ on, but for getting places.
Derrek: In short, there are doors for every building in this game. I did not use a single one.
Mitch: I was in more than one hot situation on my way to retrieving the Red Faction rebellion’s walker that forced me to take cover. Where most games are littered with knocked-over trash cans or chunks of rock that are prime for hiding behind, RFG forces you to think a little bit outside the box. There are certainly choke points that require you to duck behind a crate or a stone wall, but most of the time you’ve got so many soldiers burning your ass that you need to create cover on the go. Smashing through walls with your sledgehammer to access interiors is really exciting, and the feeling of blowing out a window and its support with a swift strike is super satisfying.
Mitch: Similarly, after I’d had enough of trying to club my way through the forces of nefarious motivations, vehicles offered an enjoyable alternative to the smashing and shooting. Ramping off of a barricade and on to a cliff-side is nothing short of exhilarating, but smashing a flaming truck in the mouth of an enemy encampment and sprinting to success is super rewarding. I really hope that RFG holds up like this throughout, because I wasn’t bored for even a second while playing the short demo mission.
The icing on the cake to the entire thing, though, was finally hopping behind the controls of the worker-mech you’re looking to steal. Sweeping soldiers out of your way is hilarious, and tossing vehicles in to the sky with its arms is hilarious, but nothing had me smiling wider than absolutely obliterating the buildings I’d been hiding in moments before. There’s almost a Shadow of the Colossus-esque sense of scale at the point you’re squishing soldiers in a super-sized robot, and reducing everything around you to smoldering rubble is absolutely incredible. You feel like an invincible god, and that sense is realized again when you load it on to the back of a truck.
The level concludes with an on-rails turret sequence, but racking up kill combos by blowing up cars and sending them careening off of cliffs, into each other, and through gas stations keeps it interesting. Firing rockets at propaganda and explosive oil tanks yields entertaining results, and sabotaging oncoming baddies with precision fire makes for one gratifying car ride. So gratifying, in fact, that I went back five times just to hop back behind my turret.
Everything that transpired before then was just peachy.
I’m in love with Guerilla, but I’m prone to disliking open-ended games because there’s too many variables that end up frustrating me. This, however, is on an entirely different level for me. I can’t even call it a shooter, because I didn’t play it like that. It’s almost an adventure game with guns. But most people will play it like a shooter, I’m guessing. That kind of make-your-own-experience stuff normally angers me, but in the case of Guerilla, it’s just so damn fun that I can’t wait to try it both ways. And in any other fashion I can.